PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder and while it can generally be associated with any form of experienced trauma, it is usually associated with traumas that our military veterans experience during war, combat and training.
The thing with PTSD is that the symptoms get worse and may last indefinitely unless treated.
PTSD is basically a traumatic event that the patient has witnessed or experienced that gets suppressed deep into the unconscious so that it never gets fully experienced.
It’s the defense mechanisms kicking in that make us avoid fully experiencing the trauma and thus it gets buried deep within our psyche.
That’s why it can be triggered by a plethora of unusual associations with the event later in life. The symptoms can kick in even years after the event has occurred.
The symptoms can include recursive distressing memories or flashbacks during which the patients relive the traumatic events as if they’re taking place once again.
These flashbacks can be dangerous as they can make a patient forget about reality for a while.
The patients might also face upsetting nightmares about their experiences.
Severe physiological reactions to what reminds patients to the events occur as well.
It is even harder to treat since patients often avoid talking about their traumas which is another form of suppression and defense mechanism of their subconscious which actually jeopardizes their health.
Patients suffering from PTSD might also avoid anything that bares resemblance to a traumatic event, including places, people, activities, etc.
Almost anything and everything can trigger PTSD as patients often suppress the actual experience by putting too much focus on a trivial stimulus following the trauma.
That stimulus which can be a color, a sound, shape or anything really, can later trigger flashbacks and such.
PTSD may have a detrimental impact on the way we perceive ourselves, others or the world. Patients often get hopeless and depressed about the future.
PTSD can also cause memory problems, detachment, lack of interest in activities, emotional numbness, constant paranoia, fear, anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping and concentrating.
As you can see, PTSD is not a thing to be trifled with. It may cause other mental conditions to kick in. Patients often succumb to self-destructive behavior, escapism, alcoholism or drug abuse.
Addiction problems are followed by irritability and outbursts of aggressive behavior which result in overwhelming guilt trips and shame.
After those, thoughts of suicide are known to occur.
It’s already been stated that combat, childhood abuse, sexual trauma or any kind of violence or accidents such as fire, crashes, etc. may induce PTSD.
It’s a vicious and insidious disorder that can destabilize your whole life, your everyday activities as well as relationships, job and other important aspects of people’s lives, generally.
How Psilocybin helps PTSD
Psilocybin is known to sort of rewire the brain. It helps brain centers that don’t normally communicate that much increase the level of interaction, the result of which is a major change in perception.
Other than their visual perception properties, magic mushrooms have been known to induce states of trance, visionary and dreamlike states as well as mystical experiences and heightened perception, awareness, etc.
Now, all of that can make a patient reevaluate his/her experiences, but while doing so, experience the trauma from a different, neutral and disinterested perspective.
That allows the patient to end the cycle of trauma, to fully experience it and deal with it, but without the risk of falling into a state of panic and then depression.
All this is due to the fact that psilocybin has a major calming effect on the psyche since it’s a chemical analog to the neurotransmitter serotonin otherwise known as the “happiness hormone”.
One of the primary functions of serotonin in our CNS is to regulate our moods and make us feel that sweet joy of living, that sheer pleasure of existence.
Psilocybin binds to the 5-HT receptors that serotonin usually interacts with and makes our CNS act as if it’s… well happy.
It’s important to note that it’s not euphoria we’re talking about here, it’s that serene, peaceful happiness and introspective meditativeness of the spirit that you fall into when you ingest psilocybin.
Heightened intuition and introspection are also common experiences with psilocybin which allows patients suffering from PTSD to reinterpret themselves and their lives.
By redefining who they are, they gain the ability to redefine the way that the traumatic event shaped and structured their personalities and their lives.
That happens because psilocybin has a way of pacifying the cognitive centers in our prefrontal lobe of the neocortex. That’s where our Egos reside.
The place where Ego resides is also the place where fear, angst, suffering, and frustrations come from. Think about it, have you ever seen a depressed or anxious animal? That’s because they have no Ego.
Psilocybin sort of knocks out our Ego and makes us feel that we’re one with all of the living existence, with all of life.
The magic of mushrooms makes us see that who we thought we are was just a shadow of a story that we’ve told ourselves about ourselves.
The “I” on psilocybin is shown to generally be just a point of perspective and psilocybin allows for that perspective to change.
It also multiplies our stream of associations which makes us experience every single thought tenfold. That, in turn, allows us to desensitize and break the connection between the trigger and the trauma.
That basically means that we’ve rendered the trigger useless when it comes to restarting our flashback. That happens because we see both the trauma and the trigger in a new light – bathed in great numbers of associations.
So, new connections, associations, ideas, neural pathways, and perceptions form when on psilocybin. That allows the patients to both relive the traumatic event from a safe zone and to view it in a different light.